New Canaan Now & Then: The ‘Next to New’ Shop


31 Grove St.

‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris.

In 1922 the brick building located at 31 Grove Street housed the laundry business of Mrs. Millie Williams. The business changed hands within the year and was owned by Benjamin Mouzan (known as the B&L Mouson Laundry).  By July 3, 1924, the business had expanded to include housekeeping. In 1935 the business was transferred to his wife, Louise F. Mouzon. 

By the late 1930s, Frances Warren lived at 31 Grove Street. Ms. Warren was born in Boydon, Va. on March 10, 1872 and was the chef of the Ardsley Inn for 27 years. The now defunct Ardsley Inn was operated by the Silliman family and was located on the corner of Park and Maple Street. 

Ms. Warren died at the age of 82 on December 22, 1954. It is evident from newspaper articles at that time that her extended family lived with her at 31 Grove Street. Her nephew, Edward Williams, had a colorful past and was arrested for larceny of auto parts in 1954. Mr. Williams apparently mended his ways and became a postman in town by October 10, 1958. He lived at the residence with his half sister, Edna Hardaway (niece of Ms. Warren). 

In February 1964 the Women’s Club moved its “Next to New” shop from 140 Park Street to 31 Grove Street. The Women’s Club occupied this space until 1968. In addition to housing the “Next to New” Shop, it became the headquarters for the organization. The shop moved from Grove Street to East Avenue and then to locations on Vitti Street until it closed in 1992. 

The “Next to New” shop collected sporting goods, used clothing, and household goods. The Women’s Club Scholarship and Appropriations Committee provided funds to many local organizations in town as well as supporting other national organizations. The largest donations traditionally were to New Canaan High School for scholarships, but other beneficiaries included the junior high schools, the tree lighting at God’s Acre, the New Canaan Library, and the Nature Center.

The property was owned by Lucia King et al. according to the land records of March 21, 1972 and then passed to 31 Grove Street LLC on October 1, 2003. 

In June 2002 Mr. Alan Vertucci Jr. applied for a special permit for a liquor store but there were objections to his plan because of parking spaces and potential traffic problems. In fact, the A&P liquor store (currently where Acme’s liquor store is located) sued the town after Mr. Vertucci’s permit was approved. The property was sold to the New Canaan Realty & Development in May of 2021 and then to its current owners in June 2022. The business MB Sports LLC is located in this ivy covered building. 

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